Student Profile: Prisma, Jospeh, Jr, and Adrian
At 19 years old, Prisma has been through more than a lot of people twice her age. Despite skipping school in her younger years, having two boys by the time she was 18, not having much support from family, and…
At 19 years old, Prisma has been through more than a lot of people twice her age. Despite skipping school in her younger years, having two boys by the time she was 18, not having much support from family, and facing homelessness, Prisma is determined, strong, and compassionate. She will graduate with the class of 2019, and has plans to take on the world and support her family with her partner, Joseph. Prisma and Joseph have two boys. Joseph, Jr (Junior) is almost 2 years old. He’s a smart boy smart with an amazing energy. “You can’t be sad around him at all,” smiles Prisma. “He’s always happy, even when he knows that we’re struggling.” Adrian is almost 1 year old, and the calm baby. According to Prisma, “he likes to be alone unless he needs something.”
At 16, Prisma was ditching school, getting into fights, and smoking. Her siblings were heading down similar or worse roads. Prisma’s mother sent her to JobCorps in Montana, where her life took the first turn in a new direction. At JobCorps, Primsa met Joseph. The two hit it off, but he was adamite that he would not date a girl who got into fights and smoked. So she changed. Joseph set Prisma on a new path, one different from the troubled path most of her siblings were heading down. “He’s a really positive person,” says Prisma of Joseph. “He doesn’t settle for less. He has lots of goals.” The two have been together for almost four years. They are each other’s support when it comes to work, school, family, and the challenges they have faced together.
When Prisma found out she was pregnant with Junior, she was 18 and living with her mother. She and Joseph were both surprised and not ready to have children so soon. Both her and Joseph’s mothers were supportive at first. But they both had different ideas from Prisma and Joseph on how to raise Junior, and specifically how to discipline him. Her second pregnancy with Adrian took longer to process. Prisma was completely shocked and felt down. At that time, she, Joseph, and Junior had moved away from her family, and were living alone in an apartment in Denver. “We distanced ourselves from our family because of negativity,” Prisma says. “It was not a healthy environment for us to raise kids.”
It was then, after Prisma, Joseph, and Junior had moved to Denver, that Prisma found Florence Crittenton Services (FloCrit). “Actually he [Joseph] was the one who got me back into school,” remembers Prisma. “My plan wasn’t to finish school.” Joseph came home one day with the number for FloCrit from a flyer he had seen at a business. For three or four months, he encouraged Prisma to check out the school. “He had to tell me that it was going to be better for our future,” says Primsa. “He wanted me to have goals and not to settle for less.” She finally emailed the school and started right away.
Prisma fell in love with Florence Crittenton. “They’ve helped me through so much,” she acknowledges. She speaks with such appreciation of both the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Center and the Student and Family Support Program (SFSP). One ECE Center teacher has had both Junior and Adrian in her class. She provides an incredible amount of support to Prisma and her family, going above and beyond what Prisma expected from a teacher. “She has become like a mom to me and my partner,” says Prisma. “I don’t think I could find that [support] somewhere else.” Prisma appreciates that the ECE Center staff notices that she works hard, that her partner is involved, and that she and her boys arrive on campus clean and dressed for the day. She and Joseph make an effort to build relationships with the teachers, and the teachers reciprocate that effort.
The SFSP staff has also made a big impact on Prisma’s life and experience at FloCrit. They watch out for her, support her and her family, and encourage them. When she first started attending FloCrit, Prisma, pregnant and with Junior in tow, would ride the city bus 1.5 hours to campus every day. Her Family Advocate helped her with a better transportation option and to get a double stroller. Later, another SFSP staff made sure that she and Joseph got a flat tire on their car repaired. This summer, when Prisma and her family were kicked out of Joseph’s family’s home where they were living, the SFSP staff helped them through months of living in their car and bouncing from motel to motel. “Every time she [an SFSP staff member] would see me, she would be like ‘You’re here, you made it.’”
During the same summer, Prisma was interning at the ECE Center and taking a Childhood Development Associate (CDA) class. In a true testament to her dedication and determination, she came to campus every day for work with both of her boys, did her CDA homework on a borrowed computer, and got her CDA certification. Prisma hopes to use her CDA certification to work in childcare after she graduates. Eventually, she wants to use her Spanish skills to translate for people who do not speak English and help them find resources in the community. She has goals for her boys, too. The most important thing is for them to get their education. She and Joseph both know what it’s like to be left with no family support when you need it the most. They want to create a supportive and trusting home for Junior and Adrian. “Having Junior, seeing that you have to do things for somebody else now, changes your mindset,” Prisma reflects. “I realized it wasn’t all about me anymore. I had to have an education and a career to support my kids.”